Justin Evans – Co-founder of LANDR.com

Read books that are about other things than business that really challenge your perceptions. Eat great food regularly with brilliant people, and try and find new ones to eat with all the time.

Justin Evans is the co-founder and product vision behind LANDR.com. He brings over fifteen years of experience building exceptional digital products. Justin has helped strategize and create branding, websites, marketing and social media strategy for Fortune 1000 companies and Large NGO’s. Justin has also been a key factor in the development of web strategy, book marketing (he has two New York Times bestsellers and counting) and branding with brilliant thought leaders including Fred Krupp, Carl Safina, Julien Smith, Charles H. Green and David Maister.

Where did the idea for LANDR come from?

A combination of bleeding edge university research and an incredible music community in Montréal.
I was lucky to have bounced back and forth between the digital and music life in Montreal both as an underground musician and digital entrepreneur. When a local incubator (TandemLaunch) recruited me to take a look at some exciting new music tech developing at Queen Mary University I was able to bring it back to the very generous and awesome music community I’d been a part of for a decade. Getting a ton of brilliant musician and thinkers’ input on what the tech made possible led to a very quick product market fit.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I try and start at least three days a week with a sauna before work where I can check out from the noise and pressures of the day and focus really clearly on what I need to achieve during that week. I try and find simplicity and clarity in my focus and then work very hard to minimize distractions from whatever I’ve decided there, and then try to go out and not lose focus.

How do you bring ideas to life?

By building and nurturing great teams that in turn then builds and nurtures great ideas that really smart people can get behind. This way you can always trust your team to make the right call on which ideas should live and which ones should die. Finally, always give your team space to execute their ideas and bring them to fruition (this last point took a long time to learn!).

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Machine learning and what it is making possible. I find the intersection of human creativity and machine intelligence super fascinating.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Making sure I garden at least a little bit every single day.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

Working in a chicken processing plant. It taught me a lot about what the food we eat is and how that works not to mention a lot of very uncomfortable lessons about compassion!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Not much to be honest. My journey to where I am now has been pretty fun. Plus I really like my failures and the mistakes I’ve made, and, believe me, there have been plenty!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read books that are about other things than business that really challenge your perceptions. Eat great food regularly with brilliant people, and try and find new ones to eat with all the time.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Listening to our customers has been the single biggest thing that has driven our success. When we launched I read every support request for the first four months of being live and I read every forum that posted about us. I responded quickly and meaningfully to each person because I really cared and wanted to celebrate our customers’ success.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I worked on a startup I didn’t believe in because it seemed like the only option I had at the time. A bunch of stuff was falling apart around me and I tried to grab onto the most solid appearing thing, but I really didn’t believe in it. I tried very hard to make it work, but I didn’t believe in the core values of the company. I learned from this that that is a fatal flaw. So I made sure the company was in a place where losing me wouldn’t mean too much, and then made a quick exit, hoping the best for them and for my own future. I made sure that the next thing I did I could really align to deeply, which was LANDR.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think there are tons of opportunity in marrying the sharing economy to curated experience. There’s a million exciting businesses to build that intercepts these two concepts. in the intersection of those two concepts.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spent a little more than that on really great clover seed and organic compost for my garden.

It’s a great investment — I’m eating from basically July until September from what I grow. Plus it tastes one thousand times better than even what you can buy at a farmer’s market. The clover really helps the soil on the rooftop regenerate for next season which means next year’s garden will be full of food.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

All the standard services: LinkedIn, Adobe Creative Suite, Zendesk, Google Calendar, Dropbox, Slack.
The coolest thing about all of this stuff is it all feels natural and almost invisible. To me, great software is stuff that you couldn’t live without but that you barely notice you use. It’s like Oliver Reichenstein from iA.net says, ‘great design should be invisible.’

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Alien Phenomenology’, or ‘What It’s Like To Be A Thing’ by Ian Bogost.

As per my answer to question 8– I think it’s really important to keep the mind thinking of the entrepreneurial canon in order to have a fresh perspective on how you look at things. Alien Phenomenology is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in the past five years and it represents a really accessible gateway to some of the most inspiring intellectual thought happening on the planet right now.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Thinkers I like:
Ian Bogost:
Ecology Without Nature:

Friends who do cool stuff that I find inspiring
Emilie Baltz:
Anna Friz:
Dana Gringas, Animals Of Distinction:
Will Murray:


LANDR onTwitter: @landr
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LANDR on Instagram: @landrmusic
LANDR on Soundcloud: landr_music